State of the Union

Sometimes, like tonight, I miss blogging. It was such a huge part of my life for so long, how could I not miss it. But every time I try to get back to it, I am reminded of the reasons I stopped. I could enumerate them, but in truth, they can be distilled down to one simple statement…

It’s hard being a woman – with opinions, beliefs, and thoughts – on the internet.

So I turned to art, and while I do enjoy expressing myself artistically, I miss using my words. I miss the connection of saying something, having other people respond, and then having a conversation about it. But blogging comes with risks, and I got tired of having to be situationally aware at all times. It’s stressful to be out and about, living your life, and having to pay attention to whether or not the latest stalker, whose actual location you haven’t back tracked yet, might be ready to run up and do … whatever.

Not that I walked around feeling scared at all times, because I’ve lived an interesting life and no longer scare easily, but that I had to be 100% aware of my environment and the people in it at all times while outside my home. Including my front yard. It required an enormous amount of mental (and physical) energy. It simply felt like the costs very much outweighed the benefits.

But … there is shit going on in my country right now that I cannot abide. I must do something. But what? While my dad was an expert at turning the political into the creative, I did not receive that gift. My art comes from a place of contentment and happiness. I have tried to break the barrier between “happy” art and “angry” art. I have been unsuccessful.

So that leaves me with words, and my words always did have a bite. It also leaves me with the risks involved with being a opinionated woman on the internet, and I don’t know that I want to take on that burden again.

With that said … allow me to rant …

America is in a downward spiral. I’d like to say I didn’t expect this, but I did. It’s not even Trump and company that concern me. They are petty criminals and idiots, which is why we know so much about their misdeeds and shenanigans. It’s who comes after. Doesn’t matter what political inclination, whoever comes after will have extraordinary presidential powers. If we allow the current President to get away with whatever he likes, as we did Bush and Obama (he also increased presidential power), the next guy or gal will at this point be able to do whatever the hell they like without any repercussions whatsoever. We’re lucky that Team Trump is stupid. The next guy or gal might not be. Imagine if all the things we know about the Trump Administration had been kept quite. Take a minute. Or two. Think about it.

But what’s occurring in my country is more urgent and cannot wait for some future president who may … or may not … have the best interests of humanity residing in his or her heart. The United States of America is abusing other human beings. Many of those human beings are children. They are being treated worse than human beings who have been incarcerated for heinous crimes, and those people are already being treated inhumanely. The United States of America is being inhumane and cruel. Also … very very Un-Christian. Haven’t I been told, over and over again, that we are a Christian nation? I’m sorry, but I’m not feeling it. What would Jesus do? Well, not what we are currently doing.

But what to do about it? What to do with my grief and outrage and horror? Words no longer work. You cannot reason someone out of a belief they have come to by irrational means. Why should I take on the risk of having an opinion on the internet, when I’m reaching no one who doesn’t already know what I am saying is true? Why risk my life to preach to the choir?

Words no longer work. The factions are set. You’re either with us or against us, no matter what side you are on. Minds are closed, and it feels like it will be impossible to teach some segments of humanity how to be humane. As a student of history, I have seen this pattern repeat, time and time again, and it leads nowhere good. Nowhere safe. Nowhere human.

So if my art is incapable of expressing it, and my words incapable of moving minds, the only thing left to me is to throw my body upon the gears. To make noise … physically. To protest. To be a thorn under the saddle of oppression. To maybe make the evening news. What course is left to me? Voting? Can I trust that what election I vote in is fair and just? No, actually, I can’t. That is how much faith I have lost in our systems.

I blame Facebook … and Twitter and YouTube. I blame modern capitalism. Whatever makes someone a buck is hunky dory, yeah? I blame my fellow Americans. I blame humanity. Humans are awful. We’re barbarians. We are not nearly as advanced as we like to think we are. I always hope that all people contain good, but I am never surprised when they don’t. Some may call me jaded or cynical, but I have spent more than a half century existing in this world. I have witnessed humanity at its finest and its worst. Humanity trends towards evil, because evil is easy.

Something must be done. My country I sliding into realms not seen since history past, and our elected officials … no matter which party … appear to be uninterested in doing anything about the fact that the very foundation of our nation is being chipped away on a daily basis. I tell myself not to care, but I do care. I care what my country is doing in my name. I care about laws. I care about truth and justice and doing what’s right. By any standard, what is happening to human beings in the United States currently is … wrong. Evil. Inhumane.

I’d hoped we could just reality tv our way through a single term of the Trump Administration, but more and more I suspect that we are in for a very long haul. Everything is falling apart much faster than I anticipated, and I see very few paths leading to a positive outcome. I feel like it’s possible this is all just something we are going to have to get through … no matter how long it takes, no matter how painful and awful, and while we are doing so, people … children, in particular, but not exclusively… are going to be dying. So I’m left with … something must be done to stop it.

So how best to throw my body upon the gears and halt our progress towards a future of inhumanity and cruelty. Something must be done, and our elected officials and our systems are doing nothing. Why? I assume because they are either complicit and compromised, or they fear losing the power they currently enjoy. Perhaps they are simply as terrified as the rest of us. No matter the reason, the outcome is bad. To do nothing while injustice happens before you is to be evil.

The other side of my personality has a different opinion. I, and a great many other people, tried to tell you this was where we were headed years ago, but no one listened. No one cared. I’m old enough to not give a damn what you people do to the world. I’ve had a good enough life, if it ended tomorrow I wouldn’t be entirely sad about it, so why should I even give a damn about the state of the world? I did the best I could when I was younger to make the world a better place, and I failed. I expected the next generation to step up, but it seems they are uninterested in doing so.

What am I to do with this rage? What am I to do with this overwhelming compulsion to do something … anything … to change the status quo of babies dying in cages separated from their loved ones? What am I to do about a president who is above the law? What am I to do about the corruption of our elected officials? What am I to do about injustice and inhumanity? Donate to organizations? Complain on Twitter?

I’m old, and I tired. I don’t have the physical wherewithal to protest for days on end. I don’t have the budget to put enough gas in my car to get to all the places where throwing one’s self upon the gears might matter. So what the hell can I do to stop my country spirally ever deeper into extremism and hatred and cruelty? My art won’t do it. My words are ineffectual in the face of willful hatred and ignorance. This is what I am currently contemplating … something must be done, and I feel like I am alone in doing it.

Why are we not in the streets? Millions of people worldwide took to the streets to express their opposition to the war in Iraq. But human rights violations are happening on our very own soil, and no one is doing anything except donating to organizations and hoping for the best. I no longer believe this will effect change. In fact, I have never actually believed that was a path to societal change. Change comes from people physically demonstrating the courage of their convictions, and I see so little of that these days.

But something must be done to stop the cruelty and horror that is happening by my country, in my country, and in MY name. But no one likes being attacked, and no one likes being uncomfortable, and no one likes being arrested. Allowing evil to happened right in front of you is easy. All you have to do is ignore it, and donate to the appropriate non-profit to make yourself feel better about it all while Tweeting about how awful it all is. Well, that’s not good enough for me. I want to do more. I just don’t know yet what “more” is exactly. What does one individual do to stop a nation from turning it evil?

I don’t know. I’m going to figure something out though, because … SOMETHING MUST BE DONE, or history will repeat itself in some new horrible way. It already is, but most people are either blind to it (willfully, or because they are too busy trying to survive) or enthusiastically applauding it. There are a great many Americans who will support fascism, so long as the people being oppressed look nothing like them, because humans are awful. We are. We’re barbarians. We fool ourselves when we pretend we are in any way enlightened.

So I can give up, or I can fight. I don’t know how to fight what seems to be impossible odds, but I’m going to have to figure out how, because if someone doesn’t … humanity, on the whole, is doomed. It’s not just the USA facing this crisis of conscious. This is happening across the planet in one form or another, at some level or another. If people don’t wake up and start throwing themselves against the gears of oppression and cruelty and evil, what hope does humanity have. Evil wins when good does nothing. So how can we continue to do nothing?